Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Where to Take Your Dad When He Visits

Back in October, I gave you an itinerary for when your mother visits. But of course, you didn't come from her alone: Your dad had an equal hand in your creation, likely teaching you how to drive a car and loveably screwing up by putting pancake batter in the toaster. How better, then, to show him your appreciation for raising you the right way than planning an awesome visit?

Here are a couple of surefire wins for a weekend in D.C. with pops:

FOR A MUST-SEE MEMORIAL: The Thomas Jefferson Memorial

While the Jefferson dome is one of the iconic landmarks of D.C., fewer people visit this memorial than do the Lincoln or the Washington simply because if you're not a local, it can be confusing to get to. But don't let that deter you: Metro with dear ol' dad to the Smithsonian stop and get out on Independence Avenue. Walk along Independence to 15th Street; turn left and walk to the Tidal Basin. Follow the path around to the steps of the Jefferson.

The long walk will be worth it. Once you climb the steps to face our nation's third president, immediately turn around: You'll see a gap in the famous cherry blossom trees, through which you can see directly to the White House. It's a view unlike any other.

And of course, for something that really NOBODY does, go underneath the memorial to the small exhibit and gift shop. It mostly focuses on Jefferson's time founding the University of Virginia, but it's a cozy museum that offers up facts unseen elsewhere in D.C.

FOR A HISTORY-LADEN DAY TRIP: A private tour of Antietam National Battlefield, 5831 Dunker Church Road, Sharpsburg, Md.

Famous photograph of the Antietam Battlefield. That church -- the Dunker Church -- still stands on that spot.
In my 29 years as a daughter, I have found one truth to be self-evident: Dads LOVE the Civil War. They watch documentaries about it on the History Channel, they read books about it, they collect memorabilia. It is entirely possible that my dad is slightly more obsessed than other people's dads, but this I promise you -- something about having a kid makes men go, "Hmm, I think I'd like to learn about General Beaureguard today."

Which brings us to Antietam: The site of the bloodiest battle of the Civil War is practically right in our backyard, and if you haven't been there, you need to go see it. And when you go, spend $75 to get you and your dad a private battlefield guide from Antietam Battlefield Guides.

These guys are more passionate about Civil War history than anyone I've ever met -- so passionate, in fact, that even if you hated your history classes in high school, you'll still find this day to be extremely interesting an entertaining. The guide my dad and I hired had conducted such extensive research, he'd even drawn his own maps of the direction of the conflict. It was day I'll never forget, and my dad LOVED it more than anything else I've ever taken him to do.

You'll need a car for this one, so either update your Zipcar subscription or obtain a rental.

FOR A NICE DINNER: The Caucus Room, 401 9th St. NW

(Editor's note: Watch out -- their website plays music, for those in a cubicle right now.)

This is a big, fat steak restaurant about midway between the Capitol Building and the White House. And what do you get when those things meet? Politicians dining with lobbyists and all other manner of important people.

Make note: This is not a trendy spot. You probably won't catch any Hollywood celebrities grabbing a bite here. But for seasoned political watchers, you might recognize some of the more powerful names, if not their faces, in the country chowing down on a hunk of red meat.

Filet Oscar at The Caucus Room
Your dad will love the classic juicy steaks and bold red wines. For me personally, it just doesn't get any better than the Filet Oscar at The Caucus Room -- Perfection on a plate. And Food & Wine Magazine agrees, naming it one of the best steaks in the United States.


It can be a pain in the ass to get a reservation for brunch in this town, amirite?! Not so with Cedar, a manly, wood-decorated place that is in the basement of the building with only a small sign out in front. Its underground location (which makes it sound like a speakeasy, I realize, but that's not really what we're dealing with here) makes it easy to pass by or overlook, simply because you don't see people inside dining. Which means it's perfect, because the food is amazing, the service is impeccable and you and your dad will have your choice of seating.

And, let me just make a note about the decor: The place actually is all done up in cedar wood, through which they have images of cedar trees, making you feel like you're dining in a log cabin somewhere -- an excellent place to bring the father who took you camping when you were 10.

Additionally, any place that has French-press coffee holds a place in my heart. You and your dad will definitely have a bonding moment over a pot of their Sumatra bold blend.

So call up your dad and start planning his visit! He'll be guaranteed to have a great time with these places.

1 comment:

  1. OMG- my dad is obsessed with all things Civil War, too!! Great ideas, Katie! And I second the Cedar brunch recommendation--- I haven't been there in a couple of years but I remember lovvvvinnnggg it. Great post, my friend!